Hello hello! It’s been a while hasn’t it?
Where have I been? Well, that’s a bit of a long story and it has to do with Cancer.
I’ll save you all the gory details to say that after surgery and several weeks of radiation follow-ups… I’m happy to report that it looks like we beat the sucker in to submission.
The whole ordeal sort of took the wind out of my sails and caused me to, once again, shift focus in my life. One of the things I try to focus on more each day is appreciating the beauty in life. Because even when the times are tough there is beauty to be found, be it a bittersweet lesson, a smile from a passerby, hearing a child’s laugh bubbling up from the bottom of their tummy, the sweet sound of birdsong, the teeny peeks of neon green buds on the ends of Winter bare branches, the smell of coffee, the purr of a cat nestled in your lap, hugs, the kindness and love from those who love you.
The simple fact that every single day that we are “here” is in and of itself one of the most beautiful and underrated things on Earth.
So today I wanted to share with you a little trick, it’s not a recipe, it’s a technique. And it will bring beauty to something ordinary.
I’m speaking about Pie Crusts.
I love a pretty pie, in fact my love of pretty pies goes way way way back to when my Mom used to make her Pumpkin or Apple pies and she would hand cut pie dough ornaments in the shapes of an Apple or a Turkey or a Pumpkin or even Fall Leaves. She would use a little paring knife with a fine tip while we watched her deftly cut the dough, then she would wet the backside of the cut out with a little water and ask us kids where on the pie she should put it. We always settled on the center – that way everyone who had a piece of pie would get a little piece of the special cut out.
I followed my Mom’s method when I made my Vineyard Pie several years ago, by hand cutting the dough, forming small balls to make clusters and rolling out thin ropes to make vines, like you see here:
Anyone can do this. It works the best with any pie that requires a Lattice style top crust.
You can even do this with your kids.
You can make the shapes on your pie crust any shapes you want. Polka Dots, Hexagons, Triangles, Flowers, Hearts, Leaves, Dog Bones… literally whatever tickles your fancy.
What you will need:
– Cookie Cutters, in the desired shapes you want (or a paring knife if you are the artistic type)
-Parchment Paper (this helps keep the dough from sticking to your work surface)
-1 Cup of Water
-1 rolled out Pie Crust, your favorite shortcut recipe. My favorite is from the wonderful Kate McDermott of Art of the Pie (you can totally use store bought if you want to)
-Egg Wash (optional)
What you do:
Get your pie dough on your parchment paper, then start cutting out your shapes with your knife or cookie cutter. Once you have enough cut outs to cover your pie top, you will dip them one by one very quickly in to the water. Just a quick dip and right back out.
Then you will start to place the cut outs on the pie filling, starting with the outside rim first closest to the crust.
Work your way in, overlapping as you go.
Use any extra cut outs to layer on top for more dimension if you want.
Bake it as you normally would.
Please note: Juices will bubble up through the cracks, which is OK. The juices will add a fruity lacquer to your cutout shapes, which just adds to the beauty of the pie.
The pie in the header image is the pie that I made last night to take to my Mother’s house. She is recovering from surgery right now, and she was craving peaches. So I made a Cinnamon Peach Pie for her adorned with flowers to lift her spirits. I transported it unbaked and baked it at her house so that she could enjoy the wonderful smells in her house.
Here is a little cellphone snap of how it looked after it was finished baking:
She’s still talking about the pie today :)
So I thought I would show you some of the other Pretty Pies I have done recently.
For Halloween I did a Pumpkin Pie from scratch, I scattered leaf shapes with tinted egg wash on top to create this pretty little Fall bite, kinda makes you want to dive right in to that pile of leaves:
Then we come to my personal favorite – this pretty little Summer Blackberry Pie, festooned with little flowers. I love how the juices seeped up on the dough because after the bake it really makes them POP!